NEWS AND EVENTS
Opinion: Shane Jones: Political character shamefully exposed in minor MP shenanigans
A week, as they say, is a long time in politics. Fortunes change drastically and familiar territory can rapidly turn into a bog.
This week, we have learned Labour has a highly educated doctor as their MP in Hamilton. Like a virus, he is attacking his own political body from within. Discharging damaging revelations with surprising skill.
National has a goose who is about to be cooked. A banker whose single parliamentary contribution has been to highlight gang violence in Tauranga. In quick order, he has moved from damning the Mongrel Mob to sporting a hangdog face.
It is hard to remember when so much media ink has been spilt on such obscure MPs.
While grocery food prices streak beyond the reach of average households we are fed a tasteless diet of political monkey business.
On the question of Tauranga's hapless Sam Uffindell, his student yobbo behaviour has been deftly retrieved and turned into a form of political necklacing. Who stands to benefit from such an unearthing? A yellow-bellied act to be sure.
Labour holds the electorate of Hamilton West. It is a bellwether seat, a microcosm of trends and market direction. Portentous for the Prime Minister, not a good look to be openly feuding with your own elected MP. Although, the doctor will know the Hippocratic oath, politically he is high and dry with the principle of "first do no harm".
Labour has suffered a big chill and winter is not over. Although internal ructions do rankle there are deeper doubts about the direction it is steering the nation.
Rather than "let's do this", too many people feel done for. The Covid justification no longer works. There is a real fear that our number 8 wire resilience is shrinking and entitlement is spreading.
For example, should the cost of living payment have been paid out? Fuel taxes were reduced and public transport costs were subsidised. The existing winter energy payment could have been increased.
Given inflation is likely to persist, what effect does the sugar hit have on our mentality as Kiwis? Indiscriminate giveaways can feed a hand-out appetite. This is not our first bout of economic adversity. In the post-Covid era, we need to reward the mentality of actually getting out and doing things for ourselves.
The subsidy for electric cars is a further case of hand-out. Not an example of brown dole bludging, more a case of green upper-class welfare. Sadly, the windfall of this financial folly has been reaped in Osaka. Hand-out expectations are not income bound.
When national character is discussed, it becomes evident it is hard to pin down its constituent elements. For instance, has the Prime Minister's directive to "be kind" actually added anything to our national character? Many fear her agenda has not strengthened us. Rather, it has enabled dependency or worse a culture of offending without consequence.
The agenda of hate speech law showed the perils of social engineering. Fortunately, the robust dimension of our Kiwi character prevailed.
The spirit of the times however means opposing views are quickly derided as racist or worse. Don't like the separate Maori health agency? Keep it to yourself or be cancelled.
A further case is the new standard of letter writing in bureaucracy where the author declares he/she/her/him. Is this a new minority platform for micro-aggression or evidence of a kinder Aotearoa?
The mare's nest otherwise known as Three Waters is definitely at variance with our national character. Watch where the regional votes go at the next election - it is no longer about water quality.
There is genuine anger about unaccountable corporations, filched assets, secret iwi deals and community disempowerment. A sense that it is being done to them through a bogus process. Would one call that political bullying or simply the spoils of the 2020 red flood?
The bureaucracy has developed a double-chin under the current regime. Productivity has failed to grow proportionately. The engine of durable economic growth is the private sector. Far too much bureaucratic attention is paid to dividing the pie rather than increasing its size.
A major pivot is needed. The resilience of our agriculture and other primary producers is critical to our national character.
Sadly there is a disconnect between the business world and the Prime Minister. Unlike the last government, there is no consistent engagement. Acute shortages of labour have not been addressed with urgency.
Major companies complain that labour scarcity is hitting their bottom line. Cabinet Ministers respond: pay more and they will come. It is definitely not in keeping with economic resilience to starve employers of employees.
Character connotes worthiness and the capacity to fulfil. It sits upon values and norms. It also rests upon myths. Time for the Prime Minister to dispense with the Labour folklore and return to basics.
Enough of the political zoo. A hand up and not hand out, toughen up or you will be shipped out.
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